Little Foxes

If you were wandering through the forest or a jungle, what’s the one animal you would NOT want to encounter? A lion, tiger or bear (oh my!) perhaps? An angry gorilla. A deadly snake; I hate snakes! A single bite from certain snakes has enough venom to kill 10 men. What about a jaguar or a cheetah? It always has amazed me that cheetah’s can reach speeds up to 75!!! A golden eagle has enough strength in its talons to crush a human skull!!! A hippopotamus, while perhaps not very menacing in their appearance, actually are more aggressive and account for more human deaths in certain parts of the world than crocodiles.  My family and I watch nature shows about the animal kingdom and they often rate the deadliest predators on earth. From sharp teeth to powerful jaws to deadly venom and incredible speed and strength, all of these animals are deadly and dangerous. Crossing one of them could result in a very bad hair day.

But what about a fox? They’re pretty deadly, right? Not really. When thinking about deadly predators foxes aren’t one of the animals that pop into my mind…ever. Oh, I understand the havoc they can wreak on a chicken coop or smaller animals, and you certainly want to be cautious of any animal in the wild, but we don’t generally think of a fox being much of a threat. They don’t strike fear in too many hearts.

But this is exactly what we see in Song of Solomon 2:15: “Catch us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines, for our vines have tender grapes.”  As a love letter between King Solomon and his future Shulamite bride, we see the many literal interpretations of the text: the deep feelings of emotion and love that bind a husband and wife; the beauty of each in their eyes; the anticipation of spending a lifetime together giving their love and trust willingly to the other. Young love is so precious; so new; so exciting; so innocent. It many times is blinded to the difficulties and dangers that are lurking in this world and in marriage. I often hear older couples at wedding ceremonies ever so gently warning the newlyweds of remembering the intensity of their love on that special day, so as to prepare them for the difficulties that are sure to follow.

This is a warning: beware of the little foxes. Beware of those things that don’t seem like a big deal in marriage, to a church, to a family, to an individual, to a nation. It’s usually not one major problem that destroys, but the little things we don’t think pose much of a threat. Foxes while mainly carnivorous, also will feed on vegetation, especially grapes. It’s been reported by numerous farmers that foxes that have been killed have been found to have nothing but grapes in their stomach. Those sly, sneaky little guys come into the garden and dig and trample and gnaw on the vines and will kill and devour the fruit of the vineyard that takes so much time and effort to produce. To many this may not seem catastrophic, but go talk to the vine dresser and see what he says. The fruits of his labor, his livelihood, have been destroyed. Those tender grapes are like little nuggets of gold.

Do you see what this verse is saying now? The little foxes of this world (greed, deceit, lies, lust, jealousy, anxiety, bitterness, anger, complacency, just to name a few), don’t seem to be much of a threat at first glance. But they come in quietly and will destroy homes, churches, individuals and nations and devour the “tender grapes” of the vine. Sin separates us from God (Is. 59:2; John 9:31; Rom. 3:23; Prov. 15:29; Micah 3:4; Ez. 8:18-19; Zech. 7:11-13) and as children of Jesus Christ the tender grapes are our relationship with Him; your family, your spouse, your children, your church, are all tender grapes. Just how important is your relationship with Christ? How much value do you place on your tender grapes? Will you really allow the “little foxes” come in and steal from you His constant presence, His peace in your home, intimacy with your spouse, oneness with your family? Think about all the time and effort you have put into producing those tender grapes; are you going to allow those little foxes to destroy the fruits of your labor for a temporal season of pleasure? Do you value His presence in your life enough that you are willing to snuff out all those little foxes that are running rampant through your life’s garden? Beware of the little foxes; they’re deadly.

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